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Working lunch of Czech journalists and experts with the Member of Parliament of the Slovak Republic and former Slovak Minister of Finance Ivan Mikloš realized in the frame of project Raising media awareness on the EU economic agenda.

Principal conclusions and findings:

  • The Slovak adoption of euro could still be considered as a right move despite the difficulties the Eurozone has had. Slovakia is a small open economy that with euro profits from currency stability and lower costs of transactions. It also reaped the advantages of being the first country in the region to adopt euro. For instance an investment of Volkswagen shortly after adoption of euro in Slovakia was openly connected by VW with the fact that Slovakia had entered the Eurozone.
  • However, the Eurozone should be modified in order to include clear and explicit rules allowing any country to leave it and also possibility of forced exit for a country in a situation when it cannot finance itself and refuse to admit conditions of loans from the other members of Eurozone, such as the situation of Greece.
  • Ukraine has not conducted any structural reforms within the last 25 years. Its GDP per capita was in 1990 higher than in Poland and now it is only at the level of one third of Polish GDP per capita (in PPP). The nominal GDP after a heavy devaluation is even worst. This is a direct result of vague reforms in Ukraine. Kiyv should hugely simplify its tax system. If everything goes according to plan, Ukraine could have a new tax system by 1 January 2016.
  • Ukraine should also continue with liberalization of energy and utility prices. These prices have been largely subsidized, causing corruption and improper investment decisions and thus high energy inefficiency. The first wave of liberalization increased prices of energy from 10 % of the real market price to approx. 50 %, but it still may not be sufficient.
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Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
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